Last week, we highlighted the deliberately, hysterically bad @biscuitballerina Instagram account, created by a then-mysterious dancer with a great sense of humor. This week, the artist behind @biscuitballerina—who turns out to be Royal Ballet of Flanders corps member Shelby Williams—got in touch with us to set the record straight about the intentions of those LOL-worthy posts.
Her photos and videos, with their exaggeratedly cringe-worthy technical flaws, are NOT meant to mock amateur dancers. Instead, Williams is actually hoping the account will help all dancers move past their shortcomings and accept themselves and their dancing.
As a student, Williams used to beat herself up over every little mistake. She was so critical of her technique that one stumble would send her into a depression. "To get over my imperfections, I started exaggerating them and laughing them off," Williams told us. "It's a way to remind myself, 'Hey, no one's perfect, and no one has to be.'"
Williams' good-humored goofing has also helped her colleagues learn to laugh at their own mistakes. "I love it when I'm fooling around with some bad ballet and a friend laughs and says, 'That was me in Thursday's show,'" Williams said.
And that's how @biscuitballerina was born.
Williams assumed that her dance friends would be the only ones to follow the account, but it seems to have struck a chord with a much larger audience. "I get tons of comments on Instagram from people saying things like, 'Me the first time I ran the variation. Hahaha!' and tagging friends. I'm thrilled so many dancers can take themselves lightly, and turn what could be frustrating experiences into humorous ones."
Williams hopes ballet dancers at any level will be able to use @biscuitballerina as a way to take the edge off the rigorous and intense nature of the art. "The dance world is critical enough. Isn't a sense of humor in regards to ourselves worth having?"